Blog: Why 5G Should Never Standalone from Assurance

5G Standalone promises a full 5G experience with new services, deployment models and devices. But how can operators assure its delivery?

As of March 2021, GSA had identified 68 operators in 38 countries/territories that are investing in 5G SA for public mobile networks. With just seven 5G SA networks currently launched, many more mobile operators are in the active planning and testing phase of deployment of these networks. So, while the need for network and service assurance of deployed 5G standalone is a given, it is clear that pre-launch preparation is at least as important for the vast majority of operators today.

The case for 5G SA is clear – it delivers revenue, cost and agility advantages for operators that they otherwise would be unable to realise. However, it also signals the end of static network topology.

The 5G SA architecture is hybrid. It is multi-vendor, using open APIs to mix and match microservices and functions from different sources. It’s also going to be multi-cloud, with service providers deploying network resources outside their premises to take advantage of the lower costs and global presence of some of the large public clouds. Finally, it’s no longer dependent on hardware – the goal is to have a network and related ecosystem that can be deployed anywhere.

To meet this challenge, operators are designing and building cloud-native 5G SA networks that integrate a complex combination of physical and virtual infrastructure and public and private clouds and a range of microservices and functions from multiple vendors.  

A Whole New Model of Assurance

Preparing and deploying this new and complex environment requires new assurance solutions to optimize the customer experience by providing end-to-end visibility and insight into 5G SA’s new Service-Based Architecture (SBA), technologies, interfaces, protocols and distributed cloud infrastructure.

5G standalone breaks the network down into its fundamental functions and separates their implementation from the underlying infrastructure. The separation of the Control and User Planes (CUPS), with the latter function moving to the edge of the network to be as near to the service as possible, means it is no longer sufficient to simply capture and monitor traffic, it must all be correlated. Dynamic, fluid service chains, VNFs/CNFs, underlying infrastructure resources and CUPS mean the new configuration models can know what has happened on the network or to the service by collecting actual packets, logs or metadata and intelligently correlating into actionable data.

This makes traditional network topologies irrelevant and legacy approaches to network and service assurance outdated. However, it is these monitoring and assurance solutions which ultimately are the ones that have to expose the behavior and performance of the underlying network, ecosystem and service and put operators in the position to manage and control the overall environment.

So, when trying to understand the performance of the network and of the service, and particularly when there is something that looks like a problem, it is essential that the NOC and SOC teams can contextualize what they “see” in order to characterize it and pinpoint the true root cause.

Whether it’s an operator delivering a 5G SA network slice to an enterprise customer, or an organization running their own private 5G network connecting IoT sensors for a specific vertical market use case, the need for a single truth is the same.

The future of network-cloud management, service fulfilment, and operations is now directly linked to process automation in real-time with zero human intervention.

A cloud-native by design approach is required, where the assurance solution can give the operator the actionable insight and intelligence they need to be able to deliver a multi-cloud, multi-vendor, multi-access network by correlating and contextualizing network and service data.

Bringing KLERITY to Complexity

Now validated and available through the public cloud, KLERITY is the world’s first cloud-native, by design, monitoring and service assurance solution for 5G Standalone, network slice monetization, private 5G, and Industrial IoT monitoring and analytics. KLERITY provides up to a 40% reduction in TCO versus traditional assurance systems and is available under a subscription-based business model.

KLERITY delivers unified, correlated, end-to-end and highly granular visibility, monitoring, analytics and troubleshooting across subscribers, devices, applications, services and networks – irrespective of the 5G lifecycle stage.

5G Pre-Launch Preparation

  • Technology evaluation & insights into the new SBA with end-to-end call flow visualization
  • Network function vendor evaluation with comparison & benchmarking
  • Field Trial evaluation & traffic profiling
  • End to end vendor interoperability performance & troubleshooting of subscriber and protocol issues at packet/session levels
  • Network design validation including user plane and control plane (CUPS) visualization & correlation and bandwidth & latency performance in Edge deployments

5G SA Launch & Operations

  • Proactive & preventative operations with performance & quality degradation alerts
  • SLA management of uRLLC, eMBB and mMTC KPIs & KQIs
  • Network, service & application performance, and subscriber experience troubleshooting
  • End to end network & service performance, quality & experience health dashboards
  • Reduced MTTR with Root Cause Analysis of subscribers & protocols
  • Visualize and troubleshoot inter-RAT 3G/4G/5G performance degradations

As roll-outs of public and private 5G Standalone networks continue to gather pace, cloud-native monitoring and assurance will be critical if service providers are to assure customer experience, service SLAs and network performance across every phase of the 5G lifecycle, including pre-launch preparation, commercial service launch, daily operations and management.

Follow the link below to book a demo of Empirix KLERITY® – the world’s first cloud-native service assurance solution for the 5G era and discover how we help CSPs with rapid 5G SA roll-out.